We all know winter can sometimes hit like a battery of snowballs to the face, leaving you totally zapped and hiding/hibernating in a fortified pile of blankets and pillows until spring comes around. This is particularly true if you don’t live in a skiing hotbed or other area where outdoors winter activities are easily accessible.
And when you do peek up just long enough to notice that it’s actually still January and you’re staring down what could be two more months of short days, a limited intake of vitamin D, cold winds, snow, ice, salt, and not being able to break out your favorite pair of warm-weather kicks, well, that can certainly feel a little deflating.
You may very well prefer to keep yourself isolated and insulated, and we’d be hard-pressed to hold it against you. But for those of us who need a little fresh-air action in our lives, we put together a list of winter activities to help you get that fix during the late winter months.
Visit a botanical garden
There are hundreds of botanical gardens and arboretums across the country, so odds are good that you’re closer to one than you may realize. Stepping into these often-massive indoor ecosystems can transport you to another world, particularly when there is snow just beyond the glass.
Take an urban hike
Many cities have defined trails for urban hikes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go rogue and blaze your own. Whichever path you choose (hey-o), one of the benefits to urban hikes is that you can easily grab some grub and a tasty beverage once your toes are numb and your belly is empty. And just because you’re in the city doesn’t mean it’s less important to layer properly! Stay warm out there, folks.
Sure, some of you big mountain shredders out there may think of sledding as a quaint children’s activity. But really you just need a bigger ramp! Not only is sledding straight-up fun, but between building your mega-ramp and trudging up the hill repeatedly, you’ll probably get a pretty good workout. For the truly extreme, try an inner tube.
Build a winter bonfire
You don’t have to be a bushcraft expert to know that fire = warmth. Grab a few chairs, a few friends, a bottle of your favorite warming juice, and experience what it means to SURVIVE the harsh winter. You’ll need dry wood and dry tinder, so you’ll want to sort that out in advance. (If you need additional help in starting the fire, then maybe we could make some great Netflix recommendations for you instead.)
Go ice skating
Sure, there are indoor rinks that allow for year-round ice-skating action. But that’s like drinking decaf. Find your nearest outdoor rink or safely frozen body of water, lace up your blades of steel, and show winter what your best triple axel attempt looks like. If you really want to throw down, grab some brooms and pinecones and get your pond hockey on.
Each and every winter, nature answers that eternally burning question: deciduous or conifer? Tree identification isn’t just for botanists and grade school field trips. You can learn a great deal about the trees in your area by venturing out and getting hands-on with them (we recommend using a handy guide to get started).
Take a vicarious adventure
Ok, so you don’t necessarily need to go outside to get your fix during winter months. Try living vicariously through any number of the amazing nature documentaries out there. Planet Earth II kicks off in mid-February, which means it’s the perfect time to wet your beak with the original. Also check out some awesome outdoorsy Instagram accounts.
Have an idea for a winter outdoor adventure? Tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!